9 Ways to Remodel Your Rental Without Breaking Your Lease

What's Hot

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

How a Mexican Tariff Will Boost the Cost of 6 Common PurchasesFamily

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

How to Protect Yourself From the ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Phone ScamFamily

Report: Walmart to Begin Selling CarsCars

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

Is Your TV Tracking You? Here’s How to Tell — and Prevent ItAround The House

11 Staging Tips to Help You Get Top Dollar When Selling Your HomeAround The House

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

20 Simple Hacks to Make Your Stuff Last LongerAround The House

4 Car Insurers That Might Raise Rates Even When the Accident Wasn’t Your FaultCars

How to Invest If Trump Kills the ‘Fiduciary Rule’Grow

12 Surprising Ways to Wreck Your Credit ScoreBorrow

9 Secret Ways to Use Toothpaste That Will Make You SmileAround The House

The 2 Types of Music That Most Improve Dog BehaviorFamily

It's not your house, but that doesn't mean you can't make it more home-like. Here's how to do the most now without paying for it later.

Being a renter can make you feel like a renter.  After a while, the cheap flooring and outdated kitchen can start to get to you, and you might find yourself wishing you just owned the place so you could fix it up. But, renters can personalize their space too. In fact, you can make quite a few improvements to a rental without breaking your budget – or your lease.

Living spaces

1. Paint: A coat of paint can completely transform a room. For example, my last rental was nearly perfect – except that the landlord had painted the walls the color of yellow snow. After trying to live with the horrible color for a few months, I finally invested $50 in some light gray paint and covered the walls in a single weekend. It was like living in a brand-new apartment.

2. Swap out the light fixtures: Light fixtures in rentals are usually cheap, brassy, and ugly. Fortunately, if you’re handy with tools, you can swap out the ugly fixtures for ones you like – and then just pop the ugly ones back in when you move out. And you can find cool, cheap light fixtures at resale stores. I purchased two wrought-iron chandeliers at the Habitat ReStore for about $50.

3. Replace the light switches: Replacing the light switches is a dirt-cheap and quick way to spruce up a room, especially since rentals always have the cheap plastic ones. You can find different styles at any hardware store. Etsy also has handmade light switches you can buy if you want a funkier look.


4. Create an open storage look: The kitchen cabinets in my rental were cheap and outdated, so I took them off. I removed the top cabinet doors, lined the backs with decorated shelving paper, and displayed my funkier dishes inside. In about 30 minutes, my kitchen went from typical rental to modern and cute. I kept the doors so I can reattach them before I move out.

5. Cover up ugly flooring: You can always cover up ugly linoleum or cracked tile flooring with a rug, or you can buy removable flooring to cover the entire floor. Hardware stores sell click-and-lock bamboo flooring and carpet squares that you can lay down without gluing.

6. Add more countertop space: Rentals never seem to have enough countertop space to hold your appliances – or even just to cook around. Several hardware stores and home decor places sell rolling kitchen islands or butcher’s blocks with no installation required. And if you buy one with wheels, you can just roll it out when you’re ready to move.


7. Add storage: The bathroom in my rental came with a tiny medicine cabinet, which wasn’t nearly enough storage space. I bought an over-the-toilet cabinet, a towel rack, and a storage shelf from a department store for about $100. Now I have all the space I need and I can take it all with me when I move.

8. Upgrade the tile (temporarily): While your landlord would probably flip if you ripped out the tile, you can still change it a bit. Tile stickers come in all sorts of different designs and adhere over your existing tile. Once they’re on, they look just like the real thing. You can find tile stickers at home decor shops and some hardware stores.

9. Improve the shower: You can easily replace the basic showerhead with a wrench and some plumber’s tape. I bought a $15 rain showerhead to replace the cheap one my landlord installed. The new showerhead has 10 times the water pressure of the old one – definitely a worthwhile investment for both me and the landlord.

While most landlords won’t care if you make temporary changes to your rental, you should get your landlord to agree to any more permanent changes – like painting – in writing before you start the project. With a written approval, your landlord shouldn’t be able to penalize you or keep your security deposit.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right Now

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,801 more deals!